Latest Entries »

Jazz Age Lawn Party

 

This year marked the 9th anniversary of the Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governor’s Island, and my first time attending. The event, a prohibition era inspired celebration, was first conceived by composer Michael Arnella of (Michael Arnella and his Dreamland Orchestra) as a small gathering, and originally produced by Governor’s Island. However, after three years, Michael Arnella took the reigns and grew it into one of New York City’s most memorable and enjoyable annual summer events.

For $37.50, you gain general admission where you’re welcome to picnic on the lawn in style. But the celebration is more than just a throwback party which takes place two weekends a year. Michael Arnella, as well as all of the performers and vendors, pay homage to the era by being as accurate as possible in their delivery and execution of everything from the music they play to the food they serve. And while dressing in the period attire isn’t mandatory, floating through a sea of people who look like they’re headed to a speak easy, makes the pretend prohibition era feel that much more real and magical.

Jazz Age Lawn Party 2014 Waiting on Line to enter the main event area    Jazz Age Lawn Party 2014 Entrance to event

Jazz Age Lawn Party 2014: HBO's Boardwalk Empire sponsored stage with performers    Jazz Age Lawn Party 2014 pink entry bracelet

 

Tony lying on the sand/grass with the bay in the background

I’ve been volunteering with Bobbi and the Strays (BATS) animal shelter in Freeport, Long Island for a few years now (they also have a location in Glendale, Queens). And though I don’t post all of my animal outings on my blog, this is one I wanted to share.

Most of the dogs at BATS are pit bulls/pit bull mixes. Many are either found wandering the streets that people bring in, or they’re tied to a pole outside of the shelter. Because of the stigma associated with this breed, it’s often difficult to adopt them out. Add to the fact that many of these dogs are not puppies, the barrier to adoption is compounded.

Volunteering at a shelter can at times be heartbreaking. You see these animals (dogs and cats) who have been abused, neglected, are sick or a combination of all. As an animal lover, you are overcome with sadness and helplessness that you can’t save every one, or at least be in a position to find each of them a loving, stable home. But it’s so important to try to put your emotions aside to be selfless in the time you spend with one of these animals. Due to limited space, the dogs spend 22 hours a day in small kennels. For most dogs, the kennel they stay in are large enough to at least stand and move about a little, but it’s still a harrowing effort in adopting out an animal caged all day long with little socialization.

Being able to give one or two hours, or any length of time, with an animal really does make a world of difference for them, especially with these dogs since they are pack animals that inherently thrive on socialization and interaction with other dogs and people. As often as I can, I will go to BATS and take one of the dogs out for a day’s adventure. Since I am not allowed to have dogs where I live, I plan ahead so I can figure out a place to take them. On this particular day, I decided to spend time with Tony, an American Staffordshire tied up to a pole outside of the shelter along with another dog, which the staff had named Carmella. Carmella was adopted earlier this year, but Tony was still waiting for a home. I took Tony to my favorite dog-friendly place – Gardiner County Park in Bayshore, Long Island – where I had taken other BATS dogs in the past. This park is amazing. I’ve been there many times and have only seen a tiny fraction of the 231 acres which sit along the Great South Bay. The Park has everything you could want, whether or not you have a dog. It’s clean with endless meadows of green grass and trees, has various paths to walk along, there’s a nice covered picnic area, and of course the beach, which the dogs absolutely love, even if they’re afraid of the water! You get a clear view of the Robert Moses Bridge and can see the Fire Island Lighthouse across the bay.

I urge anyone who is contemplating volunteering at a shelter – even if just to give one dog a short walk, or to sit and pet a cat – to do it. Not only is it therapeutic for you, but the animals will enjoy every second, even if they can’t tell you that themselves!

Tony is STILL UP FOR ADOPTION. He gets along with all dogs, but because of his playful nature he’s best suited for medium-larger dogs as he gets overly excited with smaller ones. He’s calm, obedient, great on a leash, and loves being around people. See the pics and videos below and learn more about him on the BATS website

Tony standing on the sandy trail with the bay in the background   Tony sitting on the sandy trail with the bay in the background   Tony sitting on a jetty right next to the water

 

 

 

 

 

ADC Paper Expo

Some paper samples from the expo, with the letter pressed Livin the Dream design print in the center

Some samples from the expo

While I don’t get to work with paper that often in my projects, it’s definitely my favorite medium. Nothing feels quite like it, and paper can evoke so many memories through touch. Whenever I hold a piece of colored construction paper, the kind used in elementary school, I get transported back to the sensation of drawing on it or cutting it out for a project.

Going to the Art Director’s Club 2014 Annual Paper Expo wasn’t exactly that, but it still inspired. What I would consider the best part, and the main reason I went this year was to hand crank my own limited edition letter pressed print (along with 499 other people) of the ‘Livin the Dream’ design from illustrator Scott Biersack (aka @youbringfire). Scott was  the winner of Aldine’s Featured Artist contest for the ADC Paper Expo. In addition to the print, which I patiently waited 40 minutes to get (20 of which were spent fixing the letterpress after they ran into some technical problems), I of course picked up some samples from most of the vendors.

 

The limited edition Livin the Dream letter-pressed print       Close of of the limited edition Livin the Dream letter-pressed print

Creating my limited edition letter pressed print. STEP 1: Inserting the paper into the press.       Creating my limited edition letter pressed print. STEP 2: Cranking the press so the plate imprints onto the paper.

Creating my limited edition letter pressed print. STEP 3: Releasing and removing the print.

A year ago if you Googled Monument Valley, you’d come up with well-known images and wiki entries about the place in Southeast Utah (on the Arizona-Utah state line, near the Four Corners area). And perhaps even now, your top 20 hits might still be about one of the most photographed locations in the world. But if you searched a little further, or added ‘app’ or ‘iPhone’ after it, you’ll surely come across results that welcome into the world of the beautifully designed and engineered app game from UsTwo Games.

The game, which many compare it to something out of an M.C. Escher dream, is mesmerizing in every way possible. UsTwo has woven adventure, logic, storytelling and beauty all into one amazing game. At first, I didn’t even realize it was a story, but by the time I had completed the game (which was only a couple of hours later) I was in awe. The fact that I could become attached to some little character living in an imaginary world that has no place in reality, was mind-blowing. This game really sets the highest bar I can imagine for smart phone apps.

One of my absolute favorite scenes from the game is when one of the characters, Totem, bursts through a wall in hopes of reuniting with his friend.  As a tribute, I created a GIF of it. I don’t know if I’ve broken any copyright laws by doing this, but I will say that this GIF is derived directly from the game. I own no part of any of it, except for the fact that I created the GIF.

This GIF was created using scenes from the UsTwo iPhone app game. None of this content is my original work.

This GIF was created using scenes from the UsTwo iPhone app game. None of this content is my original work.

 

Cup & Spoon interior. Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/CupandSpoonChicago

Cup & Spoon interior.
Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/CupandSpoonChicago

I recently visited my close friend from Portfolio School (Creative Circus), Rose Quasarano, in Chicago, where she now lives. Like many people I graduated the Circus with, Rosie made a huge leap from being an advertising creative in as an Associate Creative Director at a well-respected agency, to being an entrepreneur diving headfirst into the unknown of owning and running her own coffee shop. Ironically, though, the industry she left to pioneer her entrepreneurial dream, armed her with an arsenal of resources and connections to help her get started.

What began as a life long dream turned into a pop-up shop (at NOSH in Wicker Park/Logan Square Farmer’s Market), then a Kickstarter campaign and finally a brick and mortar business called Cup & Spoon, which now stands at 2415 W North Ave in the WOW district (West Of Western) of Chicago. I was honored when Rosie asked me to design her logo, and in doing so  joined a few other Circus alumni whose talent and admiration for Rosie helped nurture her ambition to open this shop (Designer Kiki Karpus and writer RC Jones both generously donated their talent to offer perks for C&S’s Kickstarter campaign). Like many small businesses, Cup & Spoon strongly believes in supporting the community in which it’s based, and sources their brew and sweet treats locally. But what really makes them special is Rosie’s continued connection to artists. Cup & Spoon shares a building with Dreambox Gallery, a contemporary art venue based in Chicago since 2003. Together they formed WOW Frequency, which showcases emerging and established artists in Chicago right inside the coffee shop.

If you’re ever in the area (next to Humboldt Park) and are in the mood for coffee or tea, or if you just want to taste one of Chicago’s best pop tarts (Interurban Cafe & Pastry Shop’s pop tarts, which are sold at C&S, were dubbed by Chicago Magazine as one of the best pop tarts in the city), I guarantee you’ll be happy you stopped here.

Cup & Spoon WOW Frequency Launch Party.

Cup & Spoon WOW Frequency Launch Party. Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/CupandSpoonChicago

Today Ennis set up his easel at Cup & Spoon to work on his latest painting. It's awesome to watch him create. Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/CupandSpoonChicago.

Today Ennis set up his easel at Cup & Spoon to work on his latest painting. It’s awesome to watch him create. Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/CupandSpoonChicago.

Pop Tarts sold at Cup & Spoon. Flavors: Apple Cinnamon, Plum Caramel, Strawberry Vanilla & Blueberry Orange. Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/CupandSpoonChicago

Pop Tarts sold at Cup & Spoon. Flavors: Apple Cinnamon, Plum Caramel, Strawberry Vanilla & Blueberry Orange. Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/CupandSpoonChicago

Me at Logan Square Farmer's Market, holding a cardboard cutout of the logo.

Me at Logan Square Farmer’s Market, holding a cardboard cutout of the logo.

Baking like Grandma

I was fortunate to grow up with both of my grandmothers alive during my childhood, and enjoyed diverse cooking between the two of them (Italian and Jewish). And while they both made amazing dinners, especially for the holidays, my Jewish grandmother was favored more by my sister and I as a baker. Anytime you walked into her home, you’d know to go straight to the kitchen to see what was newly baked and sitting on the table waiting to be devoured. Of all the sweets she baked, I think her lemon iced lemon cake was by far my absolute favorite. And it’s likely why I have a penchant for it til’ this day. But aside from the smell of bread or cake baking, there was always another familiar scent that occupied her kitchen. I never knew what exactly it was and just associated it with the baking process.

When my grandmother passed away a few years ago, my family made sure one of the things we didn’t discard was the tool she possessed for over 50 years which helped bring her creations to life – a chrome Sunbeam Model 11 Mixmaster.

Sunbeam Model 11 Mixmaster - 1956

It sat undisturbed somewhere, packed away for a few years, complete with the glass bowls it came with it. I can’t recall if it was used since my grandmother’s passing prior to this Christmas but the minute I turned it on, that familiar smell buried deep in my brain woke up. It was then I realized that the scent which accompanied all of her baking came from the mixer. This model mixer, manufactured in 1955/56, still functions perfectly after all these years. I was able to make a cake with it, and while I did I admired this machine as it churned away, thinking about the hundreds of desserts my grandmother lovingly made for her family. I think the motor needs a replacement as it gets pretty hot on the higher speeds, but until it completely conks out I continue using it and thinking of the woman to whom it once belonged.

 

Zombie in 20 minutes

As a  follow-up to my post from October 5th when I attended the New jersey Zombie Walk, I wanted to post a few pics from when I had again went into zombie mode for my company’s informal Halloween party. On this occasion, I had way less time, but still managed to make a pretty convincing zombie, even without the contacts.

It took me 20 minutes in the bathroom, some fake blood, cotton balls and latex to turn into this

First phase of zombie makeup, with latex, cotton balls and fake blood

It took me another hour or so just to get the contacts in

Second phase of zombie makeup, with more latex, cotton balls and fake blood and contacts

Which is why I opt for glasses 

Final phase of zombie makeup, this time with my reading glasses and fake teeth

 

Saturday, Oct 5, 2013, marked the World’s Largest Gathering of Zombies by Guinness World Record™. It all went down on the Asbury Park Boardwalk in New Jersey. 9,592 undead turned out for the NJ Zombie Walk to reclaim the title from the current record breaking event which took place at the 8th annual The Zombie Pub Crawl in Minneapolis, Minnesota at Midway Stadium on Oct 13, 2012.
nj zombie walk 2013 record breaking photo

screen shot take from njzombiewalk.com

Unfortunately, I didn’t make it there before the gates closed for counting but I was definitely there in spirit and in costume. My boyfriend, who had taken classes in special effects and has always been inspired by the work of Tom Savini (Dawn of The Dead, etc.), decided it would be fun if he got me into character for the event. He hadn’t done makeup in a while so it was partly experimentation, but we both enjoyed the process and transformation and had a lot of fun taking pics.

THE TOOLS

makeup tools laid out on bed

Tools used for the makeup included: bottle of liquid latex, fake red and black blood, ben nye products, paint brushes, cotton balls, eyeliner, stipple sponge, baby oil/mineral oil, elmer’s glue stick, rubbing alcohol.

various paint brushes used for makeup various markers used for makeup fake blood and other makeup tools makeup tools laid out on bed makeup tools laid out on bed

THE PROCESS

latex and cotton application to build up features

latex and cotton application to build up features

black makeup application around eyes and mouth first layer of makeup and detailing mean zombie face

close up of zombie face

I purchased fake zombie teeth to enhance the effect. They’re a little clunky but funny looking.

latex on hands

We added nails and covered my hands really quick just to help them match my face. By the time we got to the boardwalk it was already peeling.

latex makeup mask in full zombie makeup on the street

 

latex makeup mask

The grease makeup prevented the latex from sticking to every part of my face. By the time the night was over, I just cut the mask in half and peeled it off my face, leaving only the edges.

latex makeup mask

after makeup/latex is removed

the latex peeled off, but getting it off my hairline and neck took time. I used uni-solve (used in hospitals) and it worked great. The green around my mouth is food coloring that I used to darken my teeth and the edges of my skin underneath the latex.

[Belated] Happy Birthday to Louis Armstrong

This post is overdue by a few weeks (it’s July 22nd, even though I’m dating it the 4th) but it’s something I wanted to make sure I remembered and could share with anyone interested.

It’s said that Jazz was born in America and is enjoyed worldwide, so it was very befitting that the father of jazz, Louis Armstrong, happened to be born on this day – or so that’s what most people believe. From a child, Louis Armstrong had been told by his mother that his birthday was the same day as the country he had been born in. It’s the date associated with his social security number as well as his draft card and other government-issues documents. It wasn’t until scholars found his baptismal papers that it was confirmed that Louis Armstrong was in fact born on August 4, 1901.

That didn’t stop the Louis Armstrong House Museum  (LAHM) from celebrating his birthday in full force on July 4, 2013, however. The LAHM is an organization run by Queens College, CUNY, built to preserve the legacy of Louis Armstrong and the home he shared with his wife Lucille in Corona, Queens, where he spent the last 30 years of his life  up until his death on July 6, 1971 just a month shy of his (real) 71st birthday.

The celebration started with a private complimentary luncheon for members and then followed with a concert from the band Bria’s Hot Five which was open to everyone who purchased a ticket. Being a member of the LAHM, but never having visited the house, I was able get access to the backyard (you need to sign up for a tour to see the inside of house) before most were – though it turns out almost everyone who attended has been to the house before. The backyard, which is an entire lot onto itself, had what could be described as a parasol of intertwined branches and leaves. The high trees gave an abundance of shade, which made it more comfortable on such a hot day, though there was unshaded area where you could sit on benches or admire the small pond. There was also a nice outdoor bar, where they served members some southern fixins like collard greens, mac & cheese, rice & beans and corn bread. Not to mention the delicious birthday cake that everyone got a piece of after the show. It was certainly a great day and a great way to celebrate The 4th of July.

PS: If you bring your mouthpiece to the LAHM archives at Queens College, you’ll get the opportunity to play one of Louis’ actual trumpets.

louis armstrong house museum - welcome desk on July 4, 2013 event

Welcome desk at Louis Armstrong’s House located at 34-56 107th Street
Corona, NY 11368

louis armstrong house museum - luncheon welcome

louis armstrong house museum - inside first floor

louis armstrong house museum - armstrong coronet

louis armstrong house museum - backyard (looking out to 107th street)

louis armstrong house museum - backyard

louis armstrong house museum - backyard

louis armstrong house museum - backyard

bria and the hot five

bria and the hot five. bria playing trumpet.

If you still have AOL (like me), or frequent Huffington Post, you might have already read the story on HuffPost’s Weird News about 3D Dildo Print-Outs from 3DEA. Ironically, I hadn’t. So it wasn’t until I came across the pop-up 3D printing store 3DEA on 6th avenue and W 29th St. that I got a chance to see where the future lies for 3D printing. Dildos did not seem to be present (perhaps because they were all sold out, or because this looked to be a family-friendly environment), but I did get to browse and see some other rather interesting things.

To read more about the vendors, such as Ultimaker and ShapeShot (creator of the dildos), take a visit to the shop’s site. 3DEA runs until Dec. 27 and is open Tuesday-Saturday from 11a-7p and Sundays from 11a-6p.

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA, a pop-up 3D printing store in New York City

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave) 3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 42 other followers

%d bloggers like this: